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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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of the Military Organisation of Underground Poland.* It took some little
time to bring all the groups within a single framework and to achieve the
centralisation under a single command.
At first the work as a whole had to be divided into two fundamentally
different spheres of activity to deal with the German and the Soviet
occupation. A special military commander was appointed for the Soviet-
occupied area, where the fight was limited to attacking transports of mili-
tary materials moving westward to Germany from the East.* Only in
1942 did the time come for a complete re-organisation. In that year all
the existing semi-independent groups which de facto, rather than formally,
had been subjected to the Supreme Command, were brought within the
framework of a single Home Army (Armia Krajowa). The basic aim of
that Army was not a struggle to restore the Polish State for, in principle,
that State existed, but to liberate its territory. This Military Organisation
of the State covered the entire territory of Poland, i.e., not only the
6 General Government,' but also those territories which had been
* incorporated * into the Reich or formed the ' Reichskomissariats' in
the East.
The Army itself was comprised of the active force which, permanently
mobilised, was used for carrying out definite tasks, such as sabotage,
reprisals, the execution of sentences, etc.; and the reserve force. At first
it was composed from volunteers, but later the citizens received orders
and were allocated the execution of certain missions. The Commander
of the Home Army was subordinated directly to the Commander-in-Chief
of the Polish Armed Forces in London.
From the early days of 1941, when Russia entered the Allied camp, the
struggle waged by this Army was intended to take some of the strain from
the Russian front and to force the Germans into maintaining a greater
number of troops in Poland; this number, according to the estimates at
the end' of 1943, comprised of six S.S. Divisions, 50,000 policemen,
Grenzsfchutz, Bahnschutz and an army formation of a strength of fifteen
Infantry Divisions. The objectives of the unrelenting offensive, under-
taken by the Home Army throughout the years of occupation was, until the
spring of 1944, strictly limited to blows aimed at key-points in the German
communications and supply lines. When the Russians began their march
across Poland after this date, the Home Army commenced operations on a
larger scale. It had members among those Poles who had been carried
off by force to the Reich* They, too, were organised in readiness for
action at the given moment. In addition to which, specially selected
soldiers among them received instructions to execute reprisal actions inside
* The Polish Underground wireless station Swit recalled this fact in its trans-
mission of June 4th, 1943, in the following words : "Poland has been shedding
her blood not only since 1941, but since 19393 for in 1940 Poles derailed the Soviet
trains carrying oil for the Germans, and the wireless stations, which to-day are
calling for an immediate Polish rising then called the Poles bandits."